Air Force families face many challenges that civilian families do not have to experience, such as regular moves and deployments. However, all of the work and stress that comes with being an Air Force spouse is worth it because the contribution your servicemember makes to protect our country is so fulfilling and meaningful.
To highlight just how great being an Air Force spouse can be, we’ve put together a list of perks that come with the role:
1. Air Force Spouse Scholarships
There are a wide variety of scholarships available to military personnel and Veterans, and many extend to Military Spouses and their families. An Air Force spouse has access to Federal and State scholarships, Air Force-specific scholarships, as well as many non-profit or MilSpouse scholarships. Be sure to take advantage of them all if you choose to continue your education!
2. Free Flights
Servicemembers, as well as their spouse and family, are allowed to use Space-Available flights to travel anywhere at little to no cost. While this may be an unpredictable way to travel, it’s perfect for any Air Force family willing to be flexible and wanting to keep to a tight travel budget.
Servicemembers, retirees, and their families are the only ones eligible for Space-A flights, and you must call in advance to find availability at the nearest military terminal. You can sign up for Space-A flights up to 60 days in advance, which is recommended since the earlier you sign up, the more likely you’ll get on that particular flight. Be sure to bring all required documentation, such as your military ID, on the day of your flight.
3. Military Discounts
Don’t ever hesitate to ask for a military discount at a restaurant, entertainment center, clothing store, airport, or anywhere else. These discounts are designed to show servicemembers, their spouses, and their families a huge “Thank you for your service.”
4. Free Housing
While you’re probably aware that the military will provide you and your Air Force family a home on base, you might not know that you also get travel housing as well. Part of your servicemember’s military benefits include that they and their family may stay at military lodging around the world. This includes beach cottages, mountain cabins, and plenty of other beautiful places.
Rules vary depending on your lodging facility, so check before setting out on your journey. Be sure to make your reservation ahead of time since military lodging can fill up quickly.
5. Key Spouse Program
According to the Air Force Personnel Center, “The U.S. Air Force Key Spouse Program (KSP) is an official Air Force Unit Family Readiness Program designed to enhance readiness, personal/family resilience and establish a sense of Air Force Community.”
The program is designed to help promote individual, family, and unit readiness, maintain continuous contact with Air Force spouses and family, encourage support amongst Air Force families, provide a strong community, and more.
6. Discounted Tickets
Eligible Air Force members have full access to the Information, Tickets, and Travel (ITT) office, which provides discounted ticket sales for practically anything you need a ticket to go to.
This includes special events like concerts or sporting events, hotel reservations, cruise bookings, day trips or tours, travel tickets, and more. Check out the Air Force ITT for more information.
7. Less Clutter
One of the cons for a lot of Air Force spouses is the frequent moving. You think you’re settling into one place for a while so get your house all set up just to have a new job or location suggested. Before you know it, you’re moving again. If you look on the bright side, though, you’re less likely to carry around a lot of clutter with you, which comes with its own host of health benefits.
8. See the World
Not every single base is going to be the most interesting, but regardless of where you’re stationed in the country or around the world, you can always find unique things to see or activities to do within driving distance. As an Air Force spouse, you get to experience different cultures, see sights you wouldn’t otherwise see, and travel more than many other people.
9. Education for Kids
You’ll never have to worry about the quality of education your children get, since the Air Force provides top-rate education from the elementary level all the way through high school on Air Force bases.
Check out the United States Air Force website for more information on family-related benefits.
As a service-based profession, the United States Air Force is a job and lifestyle interwoven with purpose. While that in no way makes it an easy way of life, it is overflowing with honor, pride, and excitement. As an Air Force spouse, you know that your spouse is making our country safer and you get to be their main supporter.
While some aspects of Air Force life can be frustrating, never let that dim your pride for your servicemember and your Air Force family. You are taking part in something hugely important. Thank you for your service!
Featured image is courtesy of Emily Anne Photography
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